QUERY, MISC: Definition of Provenance?

Excuse my ignorance: can someone give me a definition of "Provenance"?
I've seen it in the RDF discussions and recently in WOW-G/OWL.

The definition (as far as I can determine) is something along the lines
of (from http://www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/library/arch/def.htm):


The place of origin of an object or document(s). In archival terms, this
refers to the administrative office of origin of a given record, group
of records, or files. In the case of manuscript collections, provenance
refers to the person, family, firm or other source from which the
materials were obtained. Provenance can also refer to information about
the successive transfers of ownership and custody of a particular, book,
object, or document."

This smacks to me of the legal and museum worlds (not that there's
anything wrong with that).

Do they really mean by this what I know as "product metadata" or "data
lineage" from the database world? Or do they mean ontological/semantic
properties associated with an instance/individual that change over time?
Big difference. 

Is this the same as "claims", per, e.g., SHOE? It does always seem to be
related to indirect discourse or modal issues, as far as I can tell:
"John believed <blah>." So, reification?

I am sorry for my confusion; perhaps this is common parlance in the
Semantic Web?

And, by the way, what is the model semantics of this notion of
"provenance"? Metadata tag or time-dependent property?


Dr. Leo Obrst		The MITRE Corporation
mailto:lobrst@mitre.org Intelligent Information Management/Exploitation
Voice: 703-883-6770	7515 Colshire Drive, M/S W640
Fax: 703-883-1379       McLean, VA 22102-7508, USA

Received on Saturday, 2 March 2002 18:53:18 UTC